7 Best Trolling Reels in 2023 (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

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When you’re out fishing, the last thing you want to worry about is your reel. That’s why it’s important to choose a good one that will hold up against whatever fish you decide to hook into. In this article, we’ll take a look at seven of the best trolling reels on the market right now and what makes them stand out from the competition.

We’ll also provide a buyer’s guide to help you choose the right reel for your needs. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, read on for some helpful advice on choosing the best trolling reel for you.

To add to your trolling reel, here are a few products we also recommend:

7 Best Trolling Reels

1. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel 

Best Trolling Reel For Budget Option

Key Features

  • Features a mechanical line counter with push-button reset to measures distance in feet 
  • Has two ball bearings for smooth function
  • Comes with a stainless level wind line guide system for an accurate control

This fishing reel is ideal for trolling because this reel allows you to set the drag rapidly. The stainless steel components of the reel make it corrosion-resistant and hence long-lasting. It comes with both a level wind and a mechanical counter.

As a result, even if you fight big fish in freshwater, your wind won’t drop. It has a graphite spool, which keeps it lightweight. 

While there are certainly better reels, this one may be the finest reel for a low budget.

2. Penn Fathom Lever Drag

Best Trolling Reel for Big Games

Key Features 

  • Has good line capacity that keeps track of the line’s depth
  • Features a powerful and smooth drag system for quick pull
  • Composed of lightweight and damage-resistance materials 

This reel is ideal for going after big fishes in deep and saltwater because it has a nice strong build of graphite.

It has four stainless steel ball bearings, one of them being an anti-reverse bearing and a corrosion-resistant frame that will keep it in good shape for years to come.

The capacity of the line on the spool is large, so you’ll be able to see when your bait needs changing from where you’re sitting. Thanks to the capacity ring attached to this reel, you can easily check the line condition. 

3. Burning Shark Trolling Reel

Best Trolling Reel for Retrieval

Key Features 

  • Features a powerful drag system
  • ​​​​​​​​Has good line capacity
  • Has ​​​​​​​​​a strong build that is capable of handling larger species

The best thing about these Burning Shark troll reels is the ease of retrieval. The spool features a CNC aluminum spool that can manage 300 yards of 80 lbs line, making it perfect for those who don’t want to spend too much time retrieving their lines. 

With the double-dog ratchet system, you’ll never have to worry about your handle reversing again. The oversized control knob makes it easy to get in full control. 

4. Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Trolling Reel 

Best Trolling Reel For Cold Water

Key Features

  • Composed of high-quality build for professionals trolling in cold water
  • Features a good quality star drag system for a strong pull
  • Has control for both left and right-handed anglers

The Mechanical Stabilizing System, stainless steel pinion gear ratio, and dual anti-reverse system provide superior durability and keep shafts and gears tightly aligned.

Anglers will appreciate the premium line counter in both a right-handed or left-handed retrieve for smooth, consistent drags on your favorite trolling spots. With accurate reel counter capabilities that won’t fog up, you can be confident with this reel’s clear view. 

Because it contains stainless bearings and lubricating gears, this rod is ideal for people searching for smooth-running reels. Overall, the quality is far better than what was expected for the price.

5. Penn Squall LevelWind 

Best Saltwater Trolling Reel

Key Features 

  • ​​​​Has a powerful build reel ideal for targeting big fish
  • Features a dura-drag system that makes function smooth 
  • Comes with a clamp to lock pole

This Penn reel is ideal for drifting, chunking, sharking, or trolling because it is lightweight and features a durable graphite frame.

It features a carbon fiber drag system that provides power and smoothness while remaining cool, and supple and giving anglers the performance needed to conquer fierce saltwater game fish.

The Versa-Handle lets you adjust the length of your handle quickly to be used perfectly every time, no matter what situation arises during saltwater fishing. This is a high-quality reel perfect for the budget-conscious angler. 

6. One Bass Fishing Reels 

Best Trolling Reel For Speed

Key Features 

  • Has an easy-to-adjust casting system
  • Comes with fourteen stainless steel bearings for durability
  • Has a good gear ratio and offers a competitive speed 

If smooth performance is your top requirement, this is a reel to consider. There are 14 stainless bearings and one reverse bearing to ensure that the reel runs smoothly. 

The reel is built of a die-cast aluminum frame, an aluminum plate, and an aluminum-braced graphite side plate. Aside from that, it has a spool and good ratio, which makes the speed of the reel very competitive. 

7. Okuma Classic CLX Right-Handed Level Wind Star Drag Reels 

Most Durable Trolling Reel

Key Features 

  • Features an anodized machined aluminum spool for durability
  • Made of ​​​​​corrosion-resistant parts make, it is quite durable
  • ​​​​​​Has bigger handles and ​​​​​​​a loud clicker

The reel is composed of graphite, while the spool is made of anodized machined aluminum. Although anodized machined parts are costly, this reel makes it possible to offer a low price without losing material durability.

Furthermore, it has more corrosion-resistant components, making it ideal for trolling. It’s also lightweight, with larger handles that are easy to control. This very same reel has an averagely smooth multi-disc rubidium drag mechanism.

best trolling reels
Source: Canva Pro

Things to Consider When Buying a Trolling Fishing Reels

There are mainly six factors to consider to find the right trolling reel for you:


It is not only about what the drag can handle but also about how it handles it. To begin, select the appropriate drag power based on the sort of fish you want to catch. Everyone recommends a multi-disc drag since it is easy to handle and can work well.

Level Wind

A level wind should be considered to keep the wind on course as the line battles a fish. Even if the line struggles with the fish, a good level of wind will hold everything in place.


The diameter of the fishing lines affects the spool size. The diameter of the monofilament line is between the other two strands. Compared to this, lead core lines have larger diameters so that anglers can wind less of it around the spool.

Line Capacity 

A lot is dependent on the length of the fishing line you’re using so that your reel can handle it appropriately. The species you’re looking for, as well as the depth at which you’ll locate them, should be taken into account while calculating the length of the line.


When your line pays off, a clicker will notify you audibly. What you should bear in mind is that the clicker should be exact and audible.


For novices, you’ll want to opt for a less expensive but still good trolling reel. Graphite reels are the least expensive and easiest to use, but they are not very robust or strong.

Then there are cast aluminum trolling reels for intermediate anglers who know what they’re doing and don’t mind investing a few additional dollars for durability. 

On the other hand, experts and those truly passionate about fishing might choose a machined aluminum reel body.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes trolling reels different from other reels?

The difference is that, unlike baitcasting reels, conventional fishing reels do not allow you to cast the line. In actuality, you just drop the line into the water smoothly and directly to cover depth instead of distance.

How do I use a trolling reel?

The following are the steps in trolling fishing reel correctly:
Step 1: Lower your bait to the appropriate depth using a manual or electric line counter.
Step 2: Make sure that your bait and boat are at least 20 to 150 feet away.
Step 3: Keep track of your progress.


Trolling for fish is a very rewarding but risky endeavor. The best way to avoid problems in your fishing trip is by using specialized equipment like the best trolling reels. 

If you want good results, you’ll need to pick the right troll reel for you. When choosing a conventional fishing reel, consider drag, clicker, material, and capacity of the line.

Remember that knowing what to use and how to utilize the best trolling reels is essential for having the greatest fishing experience possible.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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